Last week I received a message from a candidate I placed in 2003 about where she might send a friend who was job searching. Her email indicated that her career had advanced significantly since we last met and she is someone that I might market my services to. We had a nice time catching up when I called her. I softened my questions about her own hiring needs by getting reacquainted. I asked about her beloved Great Dane pups. She referred to them as her babies when we spoke last and I knew their names were Major and General. She introduced me to them (by phone) when they were barking in the background during one of our calls. She laughed and told me that she could not believe that I remembered their names after all these years, and complimented me on my memory.The truth is, it was actually my notes that jogged my memory on the dog names. My notes, as a recruiter, are one of my most valued possessions.
Remembering every detail about your contacts is impossible unless you have a photographic memory. As a recruiter, you need notes to help you remember critical information you learned in an interview or sales call and a few personal points of interest that will improve your relationships. By this I mean human interest speaking points that make your relationships more real. After all, you can’t expect to make real relationships with your clients and candidates based only on a contract or verbal agreement to work together. Good relationships are built on common experiences, values, respect, and sometimes shared memories. The only way to remember all of those things for the volume of contacts most recruiters have, is to take notes.
Most recruiters have access to a contact management program where they can keep notes. That is what I use as well. I also try to take notes on anything that strikes me as interesting about a person as soon as I meet them, even those I may not know as a business relationship yet. Sometimes my notes have to be transferred from napkins or business cards or even my hand. I just take all of these little scribbles at the end of the networking event, trade show, or other chance meeting and transfer them to my database when I have time. Notes on where we met, how I got their card, or a conversation that took place helps me make softer cold calls.
Some people prefer taking written notes over typing notes in to a database. I was a die-hard Franklin Planner girl for years and the first time I was required to record all notes in a contact management system was sort of hard. Regardless of where you keep your notes, taking them will help you keep track of important facts. Look at the picture above. I found it on a blog. The author started using rubber gloves at work because his preferred method was writing on his hand but it got messy. Hilarious to me, but hey, whatever works for you! The important thing is that you capture the information and keep it in a safe place to assist you in your relationship building. You never know when a candidate will become a hiring manager or a former client will become a candidate. Know all that you can and have it available for review.
Notes about things like race, age, maternity or religion are not acceptable for notes when you are a recruiter. That is NOT the kind of notes that I’m talking about here. Those are bad. Anything that could indicate the individual belongs to a protected class (or doesn’t for that matter) should not be jotted down on a business card, noted on a resume, or recorded in a candidates file. Whether you work as a corporate recruiter, an agency recruiter, or an independent recruiter this can be a very serious mistake. Digital notes or hard copy notes of this kind can present a huge legal liability for you and your company. If there is a question about discrimination in your hiring process, applicant notes could, and likely would, be subpoenaed as evidence.